More than $206 million for salmon recovery and marine habitat restoration are included in the draft Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies funding bill for fiscal year 2024 that was passed by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on July 13.
Sen. Patty Murray, who chairs the appropriations committee, said the funds, which are via the U.S. Department of Commerce, are a top priority for her. Murray (D-Wash.) has long made clear that she believes the federal government must play a role in funding salmon recovery efforts, particularly as part of its obligation to sovereign tribes.
The package includes $76 million for National Marine Fisheries Service’s Pacific Salmon account, a $4 million increase over fiscal year 2023 funding levels, to support the agency’s work with Endangered Species Act-listed Pacific salmon species.
Also included: $65 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund and $65.25 million for the Salmon Management Activities account, which supports NOAA’s hatchery operations and international treaty agreements.
Murray has also secured hundreds of millions of dollars in draft legislation for critical national programs important to Washington state, plus over $30 million in congressionally directed spending requests for projects ranging from scientific research to mental health services.
The senator has stressed the importance of the fisheries-related legislation to Washington state’s economy, which includes $104 million for NOAA’s Climate Laboratories and Cooperative Institutes. The University of Washington (UW) co-leads the institutes, along with Oregon State University (OSU) and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). The institutes investigate climate change, ocean acidification, fisheries assessments and tsunami forecasting.
The draft legislation also includes $80 million for NOAA’s National Sea Grant College program at UW; $42.5 million for NOAA’s Integrated Ocean Observing System, based at UW; $16.3 million for NOAA’s Climate Adaptation Partnership Program; and $2 million for NOAA to prevent and mitigate impacts of invasive European green crab.